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Squatters Worry About Homelessness

by  Assistant Editor

Many residents of public housing are asking the public, what would you do if you had no money, no job and no place to call home? How low would you go? Would you become a squatter?

I’m running into many squatters as I continue to do my research with professor Sudhir Venkatesh from Columbia University, author of American Project.

Take, for instance, a young man who’s squatting in one of the vacant units in a Chicago Housing Authority development, a young man known to the other building residents as “Larry.” I asked him how he got to be a squatter? Read more »

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A ‘One Strike’ Battle Planned

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As law-abiding public housing residents across the country continue to walk on pins and needles wondering if they will be evicted for a drug-related crime perpetrated by a family member or a guest, a battle is being planned by Chicago public housing resident leaders and housing activists to get the “One Strike” public housing eviction law amended.

On March 26, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to uphold the One Strike law in the case of the Department of Housing and Urban Development v. Pearlie Rucker, and Oakland Housing Authority v. Pearlie Rucker.

The Rucker case involved four senior residents of the OHA who faced eviction for drug-related activities committed on and off OHA premises by family members and a home-care provider in late 1997 and early 1998. Read more »

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A Section 8 Recipient’s Painful Reality

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When I was a kid growing up in the Robert Taylor Housing Projects, my dream was that one day my family would get a Section 8 and we would be able to move into a nice apartment in a much better neighborhood. It was my mom’s dream too, that someday she would be able to move her family out of the projects.

Long after I grew up and moved out on my own, my mother was finally given the chance to realize at least part of this dream.

The demolition of Robert Taylor meant that after 25 years of living in the projects and raising five kids, she would be given a Section 8 voucher to find a better place to live. Read more »

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Homelessness: A Constant American Tragedy

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When it comes to homelessness, the City of Chicago is going the way of Dr. Frankenstein. In the books and movies, Dr. Frankenstein did not foresee the havoc, chaos and destruction wrought by his monster. By making the monster, Frankenstein thought somehow the world would benefit by his creation. He sought to control his creation. But in the end, his monster was uncontrollable.

In the current scenario playing out in this city, the Chicago Housing Authority and the City of Chicago appear to be playing the part of Dr. Frankenstein. The monster is the CHA’s Plan for Transformation. Read more »

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Squatters in CHA

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Residents of CHA hear a lot about being lease compliant and so many people are afraid. It seems that lease compliance will keep us from receiving a Housing Choice Voucher or coming back to our own development after relocation. Whether it’s in a big or small way, almost everybody is in some way non-lease compliant.

What made me bring this up is a recent phone call to the Residents’ Journal office from a resident. She was furious about squatters in her development. The squatters were people who just took over a vacant unit and moved in. The squatters acted like they had a lease agreement, putting in curtains, furniture and the whole nine yards. They had a rent-free home. The resident’s management company was notified and the lock on the unit was changed. But the squatters found another unit in the development. Read more »

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Don’t Rock The Boat

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Is it a coincidence or do Chicago Housing Authority residents experience a lot of hassles when they challenge their landlord?

Many residents believe that if you speak out against some of the actions of CHA, your living status may be threatened. As a resident of CHA, it is hard to be outspoken. Many residents, especially the community activists who fight for residents’ rights, have found that out.

Lakefront Community Organization (LCO) Executive Director Izora Davis (also a board member of We The People Media) has now joined that illustrious group. Read more »

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Del Prado Residents Face Uncertainty

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Seventy-eight residents of the Del Prado in Hyde Park are facing uncertainty and possible eviction because their landlord has opted out of a government housing program.

Located on the southeast corner of 53rd and Hyde Park Boulevard, the legendary Del Prado building once housed the very elegant Del Prado Hotel and is now home to the prestigious Hyde Park Art School and Gallery and the Del Prado Apartments. The Del Prado was once known as “the” place to eat, meet and greet for the University of Chicago set as well as visitors to the University’s internationally known cultural and academic institutions. Read more »
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Transforming CHA: One Strike Woes

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As a resident of the Chicago Housing Authority, I am all for redevelopment and I am sure most residents are. I also would like to say that most of the new private managers are really trying to work with residents. But when it comes to the One Strike issue and lease compliance, I and other residents I’ve talked with feel this policy hurts some residents who really want a better life for the residents of CHA and to be rid of drugs and gangs.

Many residents are questioning the One Strike policy (see article, page 6), especially the part where the leaseholder is responsible for his/her visitors’ and family members’ actions.
Read more »
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Transforming CHA: Court Slam Dunks One Strike

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The nations first federal appellate court ruling for public housing residents challenging the One Strike provision could lead to the abolition of the federal law which is being used to evict public housing residents in Chicago and across the country.

Oakland Tribune reporter Josh Richman broke the story of four senior residents of the Oakland Housing Authority in California who scored a slam-dunk against One Strike on Jan. 24.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found the One Strike policy to be unconstitutional and reversed a prior decision to evict the public housing residents. The elderly residents were being evicted for drug-related activity that occurred inside and outside of their apartments and of which they had no knowledge.
Read more »

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L.A. Tenants Challenge One-Strike

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There has been a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles contesting the constitutionality of the One Strike clause. President Bill Clinton signed the Housing Opportunities Extension Act March 28, 1996. It mandated that all federally-subsidized housing enforce a zero tolerance on criminal activity. This means that there does not have to be a conviction in order to start the proceedings for eviction. It also means that public housing authorities now must enforce tougher screening criteria that will ensure that new move-ins to public housing have no criminal background.

All public housing residents are subject to the “One Strike and You’re Out” clause that is part of all new leases. Residents who continue to occupy public housing as well as new move-ins are all required to abide by the new ruling. Read more »

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